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Roundup 9-16-2016

September 15, 2016

This week’s Roundup is being posted a little early.


Transportation – Another Editorial

Downtown – The Proposals Are In

Transportation – Small Steps

Westshore – Closer, But Not Clear It Is There Yet

Downtown/Channel District – Updates Here and Coming

Transportation – Vestigial Government

Downtown – The Jackson Conundrum

Economic Development/Transportation – What Is the Market

— One More Thing

Meanwhile, in the Rest of the Country

— Related Art

— You Can Make It Walkable

List of the Week – Hooray, Beer


Transportation – Another Editorial

With more transportation moves comes another good editorial from the Times.

The new transportation plan that Hillsborough County commissioners have approved is fine as far as it goes. There is nothing wrong with setting aside more money over the next decade to repair roads and redo dangerous intersections. But make no mistake: This is a road plan, not a transit plan, and the biggest transportation challenges remain unaddressed.

* * *

But this has to be only a modest start to address a much larger transportation issue. The county’s backlog of unfunded transportation needs is already $10 billion to $12 billion, up to 20 times what this move would raise, and that price tag will only increase over the coming decade. This is not even found money. The commissioners simply agreed to set aside this money from existing streams of revenue and to pool a variety of sources — from sales and fuel taxes to grants — to meet the targeted amount.

* * *

This approach only reinforces Hillsborough’s reliance on roads. And it carves the cities and HART, the county’s mass transit agency, out of the decisionmaking process, which inflames the urban-rural divide over transportation policy. This is exactly the wrong lesson from two failed efforts in the past six years to modernize the county’s transportation system.

Pretty much.  As we said last week, they are just doing what they should have already done as part of routine maintenance.  They have not addressed the actual transportation problem.  The editorial then lists some other ideas floating out there – the City tax (which we oppose) and a petition drive (which, depending on the plan, we support) – to try to address transportation for real if the Commission does not get to work.  They conclude with this:

Commissioners may have made a modest down payment on road maintenance, but they have not begun to address the larger state of the transportation network. This is a conversation that needs to happen before the cities, the business community and the next generation start to look at cutting the commission from this debate altogether. 

Exactly.  The County Commission collectively has manifestly failed to do its job (and it is not alone).  We need a comprehensive, coordinated, systematic transportation plan.  We do not necessarily expect someone to have one in their back pocket (though by now they should have a pretty good idea), but we expect them to actively work to create one, even if they have to wait for the transit studies to finalize it. Instead, the Commission has given us a road maintenance plan that they can change at any time without any consensus that there should be something more (though, as we noted last week, at least one Commissioner noted there needs to be more).  We would rather they do their job and that there be a county-wide plan, but if it is not careful, the Commission’s inaction may lead to it being irrelevant.

Downtown – The Proposals Are In

As we noted a few months ago, the City issued an RFP for the parking lot next to City Hall on Florida between Kennedy and Jackson.  Now the proposals are in.

Four proposals were received for the surface lot at 405 E. Kennedy Blvd. — a 1-acre city block that is north of Jackson Street, east of Florida Avenue, south of Kennedy Boulevard and west of Marion Street.

One of them, however, was deemed ineligible because it was submitted too late. The deadline was 4 p.m. on Sept. 9.

Here are the developers who submitted the proposals under consideration:

Unfortunately, despite this:

Buckhorn has called the block, now home to a parking lot across N Florida Avenue from City Hall, “the most prominent undeveloped parcel” in downtown and said it could be “the new crown jewel of our skyline.”

the public will probably not have any idea what the proposal are because of this:

The proposals themselves are exempt from public record for 30 days or until the city makes a decision, said Bob McDonaugh, the city’s economic development director.

McDonaugh said the city is aiming to make a decision before Mayor Bob Buckhorn leaves for a trip to China on Sept. 16, pending clarification on questions the city has on the proposals.

Which is not really much time to consider the proposals. And then the City Council would have to approve – though the public would have no idea if it is the best deal, project, group or anything else, really.

So what do we know about the companies?  We can look at websites.

-Mill Creek (website here) does not seem to build too many “signature skyline” projects.  They seem to be mostly decent but not particularly interesting, urbanish, midrise apartment buildings (though they appear to be building one decent sized building in midtown Atlanta).

-HRI (website here) seem to be rehab specialists, which is fine but this is not a rehab.

-Framework Group is the company that won (as the sole proposal) the RFP for the building next to the Straz that then partnered with another developer and were supposed to break ground in the summer.  (Though earlier reports put the start date much earlier.) They also won (again as the sole proposal) an RFP for city land in Ybor. (In both cases, Framework had looked into developing the property before the RFPs.) They are building 500 on Harbour Island right now.

Because we will likely not see all the proposals, we can’t really comment on them, except to say we think the public should see all the proposals-especially if it is such a crucial property.  None of the developers have history of building truly iconic, new buildings (and the “mixed use” in the RFP is a pretty vague phrase.  Just having a little retail on the street, while positive, is not really mixed use).  You can judge for yourself, on the slim information available, who you think will win.

The bigger question is whether, will all the other projects proposed for downtown and the surrounding area by private developers on private land, it really is the time for the City to sell this land.  If all the other projects get built, the property just becomes more valuable. And there is no need to stimulate development downtown. If the demand is not there for all the other projects, this project will just compete with the others.  And if the land is held by the City, it can used for other needs in the future (or sold).  Certainly, if the proposals are not “a crown jewel in our skyline,” the city should just hold off.

Regardless, we assume the process will go forward, so we will just wait for the choice. (As of this posting the results were not released)

Transportation – Small Steps

The first step in making the Streetcar a normal transportation element (rather than a tourist ride), there will be a test of early morning service.

Beginning September 26th, the TECO Line Streetcar will begin operating at 7 a.m. for commuters in Downtown Tampa, the Channel District, and historic Ybor City!

The TECO Line Streetcar System operating hours will look like this:

Monday – Thursday:

 Friday and Saturday:


The morning service is a 6-month pilot to gauge demand for morning service hours along the streetcar line. Tampa Historic Streetcar, Inc. and HART will review the ridership, costs, etc. following the end of the pilot on March 24, 2017.

From HART - click on picture for blog

From HART – click on picture for blog

This is definitely needed, though the actual streetcars need to be speeded up.  And it is just a trial run with no promise it will continue. Nevertheless, it is a welcome start.

Westshore – Closer, But Not Clear It Is There Yet

There was a new proposal filed for 4606 Boy Scout in Westshore (thanks to URBN Tampa Bay posting the site plans) for a 13 story building with apartments, a hotel, and retail.  This is one of the site plans (URBN Tampa Bay outlined the tower portion)

From URBN Tampa Bay - click on picture for Facebook page

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

First, the good: it is mixed use, it has some height, and there is retail on the ground level that appears to be on the street (and retail on the second floor).

Now, the question: Setting aside the big parking lot (which, at least, is not on the street and includes a garage), does the retail open to the street or to the parking lot?  If you look closely at the diagram, it appears that the retail opens to the parking lot, which is ok provided it also opens to the street.  However, such an opening is not clear, and that would be too bad.  This proposal is at the corner of Boy Scout and Trask.  Just to its east are a large number of relatively new apartments without any retail.  In other words, there is a ready-made market for any retail within easy walking distance.  By opening to the street, the retail would immediately bring an (admitted small, but it is a start) urban, walkable character to the area, which is something Westshore really needs and would be a first.  However, if the retail only faces the parking lot (even with a cut-through under the tower, which appears to be there), it just wouldn’t.  Yes, people could walk, but it just would not be as good.

Like we said, it is not clear from the diagram if the retail would face the street.  We hope it does (and, if not, we are not sure why the City does not require it). If Westshore is ever to reach its potential as an urban area, there are going to have to be some projects that actually encourage walking for more than exercise.

Downtown/Channel District – Updates Here and Coming

Next week should be interesting:

The CEO of Strategic Property Partners will provide an update on redevelopment plans for Channelside Bay Plaza next week.

A presentation by James Nozar, CEO of SPP, is scheduled during Port Tampa Bay’s monthly board meeting on Tuesday. Nozar said previously the presentation would include an update on the beleaguered waterfront mall.

Almost all the initial steps by the Lightning owner’s project have been encouraging, but the actual plans are what really count. We will be curious to see what they have come up with for Channelside.

In other news,

Publix has officially signed a lease for a downtown Tampa location at the corner of E. Twiggs Street and N. Meridian Avenue, as part of a new residential development with Mercury Advisors. The grocery will likely break ground on the store on Oct. 7, said Brian West, spokesman for Publix. Mercury Advisors announced in December that a 37,600-square-foot Publix would be part of the 21-story apartment tower known as the Channel Club development, but West said Publix did not officially sign a lease with the developer until recently.

Publix will fill a void for a much needed and much urban grocery store in the Channel District when it opens next year. 

Great. Hopefully dirt will be moving soon.

Transportation – Vestigial Government

We have written much about the PTC and how it is a protectionist anachronism that should be disbanded.  This week, it was supposed to vote on new ideas for rules for ridesharing companies that included fingerprinting, car checks, limited number of drivers, mandatory wait times, and mandatory prices. Then, it seemed as though they would cancel that vote and just talk because they failed to notice the meeting properly.  Then, that was “clarified”:

UPDATE: Early Wednesday, Victor Crist offered additional clarification to what to expect at Wednesday’s Public Transportation Commission meeting. The board may vote on furthering a version or multiple versions of rules but it won’t be a binding decision.

Eventually is was decided the meeting was properly noticed and they could vote.  Which tells you how firm a grip they have on proceedings. So what did they eventually do?

Despite appeals and petitions from hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers and riders, PTC board members voted 5-2 to move ahead with new regulations that mandate fingerprinting for drivers — a requirement that led the two rideshare market leaders in May to stop operating in Austin, Texas.

Other new rules include annual vehicle inspections, a ban on price surging during states of emergency and a 10-year limit on the age of vehicles.

Board members did offer some concessions to ridesharing fans, dropping two controversial rules that would have set a $7 minimum fare and a seven-minute minimum wait.

Dropping the two most ridiculous provisions is a start.  The ban on surge pricing is probably covered under Florida law anyway.  And we are not sure why the car has to be less than 10 years old if it has to have yearly inspections, unless the inspections aren’t actually very useful.  But, anyway, it is not over:

The vote, however does little to actually further the PTC’s quest to implement a regulatory framework for the industry. That’s because the PTC is still going to have to hold a public hearing on the issue at its Oct. 13 meeting to satisfy state law requirements that allow the affected companies to request one. Uber and Lyft both intend to ask for that public hearing.

During the public hearing the rules could again be modified, so the framework approved Wednesday is still fluid.

Of course, the PTC’s coming under increasing pressure (and it is even bi-partisan):

A coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers are the latest to come out against proposed strict rideshare regulations ahead of a critical vote by the Public Transportation Commission Wednesday.

In a letter to PTC board members, House Majority Leader Dana Young urges PTC board members to reject the proposed regulations that include fingerprint background check, vehicle inspections and a 7 minute minimum wait time.

She also pledged that the state will pass a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing in the 2017 legislative session and that the PTC should suspend any action on regulations until then.

Uber, the nation’s biggest rideshare firms has warned that the rules the PTC is considering may force it to abandon the Hillsborough County market.

“The current proposal currently under consideration by the Public Transportation Commission is plainly designed to be an anti-competitive attempt to push ridesharing companies out of Hillsborough County,” Young wrote. “If this occurs, our constituents will pay the price by losing a safe and reliable transportation option.”

The letter is signed by state House Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran, state Sens. Jeff Brandes, Bill Galvano and Wilton Simpson, and by state Reps. Larry Ahern, Danny Burgess, James Grant, Shawn Harrison, Jake Raburn, Dan Raulerson, Darryl Rouson and Ross Spano.

The mayor and some business leaders also came out against the PTC’s rules.

On Monday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn called the PTC a dinosaur and its proposed new rules draconian. He was joined by local business leaders who said losing ridesharing would affect Tampa’s ability to attract new businesses.

That is true, but it has been true all along and has had no effect.  And, given the vagaries of local politics, it is not clear that the Mayor’s involvement is helpful.

Nevertheless, the real key is the legislature because they have real power over the PTC because they can abolish it or preempt any rules the PTC comes up with.  And to show that the PTC is afraid of the legislature, the board approved getting an attorney if there is a legislative move to abolish the PTC.  Why?  Given that the legislature made the PTC and can abolish the PTC, to lobby to protect a the board’s powerbase – which is legacy cab and limo companies.

The fact remains that, even if you like the ridesharing rules, the PTC has no reason to exist other than to protect legacy companies.  It is the only commission of its kind in the state.  The legislators should just abolish it so we can start being like a normal county.  There still may be rules, but, hopefully, there wouldn’t be this circus.

Downtown – The Jackson Conundrum

Usually, we get on FDOT for being car centric (because they are).  However, this week, there was an interesting article about Jackson Street.

Think bike lanes. Does the Florida Department of Transportation come to mind?

Maybe not. But when the FDOT began looking at Jackson Street in downtown Tampa ahead of an upcoming $2.5 million resurfacing and rehabilitation job, it seemed clear the existing bike lane wasn’t enough.

Jackson has a single eastbound bike lane. There’s nothing on Kennedy Boulevard, the westbound road that, together with Jackson, forms a parallel two-way pair through downtown.

So after some discussions with the city of Tampa, FDOT began looking at creating a two-way, protected-from-traffic bike lane on Jackson Street — something similar to what City Hall has put in on Cass Street.

But there’s a problem. Putting in that kind of bike lane could mean taking out a lot of on-street parking along Jackson Street.

Not surprisingly, businesses objected.

True, no surprise.  The west part of Jackson is a slightly odd road to put a two-way bike lane because the link to the Kennedy Bridge is already, shall we say, awkward.  It seems to us that it might be not the best place to add a lot of bikes. But, in the spirit of supporting good bike infrastructure, which we do, and acknowledging that the east part of Jackson is a good place to connect to the Channel District, we’ll just set that aside for now.

“They didn’t want to lose all their parking spaces,” Tampa development official Bob McDonaugh told the City Council. One version of the plan “would remove virtually all the parking spaces along Jackson Street, in some cases on both sides.”

There also was a concern that adding the protected bike lane could reduce Jackson’s capacity. Jackson currently carries about 10,000 cars and trucks a day, about half of the number using the westbound one-way part of Kennedy.

While FDOT has a reputation as a road agency, its standards increasingly have emphasized and required more than lanes of pavement to but accommodations for cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders, too — an approach called “complete streets.”

“We don’t often find ourselves in this situation where we’re arguing to put in more bike lanes and take capacity off,” said Stephen Benson, government liaison administrator for the FDOT district office that includes Tampa.

But, after working with the Tampa Downtown Partnership to identify businesses and building managers with a stake in the project, FDOT has held a series of meetings to try to revise its plan.

Setting aside that such input is much more than they have done for the neighborhoods involved in TBX, what did they come up with?

FDOT’s earliest version of the plan called for keeping the existing spaces, but converting the parallel parking on the street into a through-lane during peak traffic hours. Orlando has some off-peak parking and has not had any problems with it, said project manager Tana Johnston-Schultz.

But FDOT officials said the city, which manages the on-street parking, said thanks but no thanks to a change that would mean preventing people from parking in certain spaces at certain times or making them move their cars ahead of busy hours during the morning and afternoon.

We agree with the City on that.  It sounds like it would be a mess.  Anything else?

At one point, FDOT was looking at eliminating up to 40 spaces along Jackson. Under a plan being discussed now, half of them would remain, Johnston-Schultz said.

We don’t know the details of this plan, but it sounds awkward to us, but we could be convinced.

Work on the project is not expected to start before fall 2017, so nothing is imminent, except for more discussion. A public information meeting is scheduled in October. Depending on the feedback, state officials said they could go with a hybrid plan.

So why not just not take a lane away, save the parking and add the bike lanes?  Why is it fine to take a lane away from Platt, Cleveland, and Ashley but not Jackson (as though no one speeds down Jackson)? If it is ok to squeeze traffic coming into and out of downtown (where you really want efficient flow), why not actually in downtown (especially since there is only one garage that faces Jackson)? If it is good enough for the Lightning owner’s project, why not Jackson? If road diets are so good, why not put Jackson on a diet?  We realize that FDOT would have to buy in, but it does not even seem to be an idea.  What makes Jackson so special?

The fact is that land is limited.  There have to be trade-offs.  Either there is parking or there are traffic lanes or there are bikes (or the streetcar – don’t forget – we don’t know where the streetcar is going if it is expanded, unless the City has already chosen a route).  We are not sure that taking a lane away makes sense on Jackson (or that this is actually the optimal time for determining the final design), but it makes as much (actually more) sense as Ashley. And, going back to last week, the conditions are clearer than Palm Avenue.  Why not consider it?

Economic Development/Transportation – What Is the Market

There was an interesting column in the Times about Enterprise Florida this week.

Be careful what you wish for. Enterprise Florida’s had it nose bloodied on a number of fronts in recent years. Most recent CEO Bill Johnson fled in a hurry this past June after a series of poor political decisions involving no-bid contracts. Incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran, citing Enterprise Florida’s failures, wants to strip the agency’s taxpayer funding.

The blowback follows an unsuccessful bid by Gov. Rick Scott to secure $250 million in additional state funds he wanted the agency to use to bolster incentives to lure more and bigger companies here.

It gets worse. Enterprise Florida is now the target of a free-market-or-bust advocacy group known as Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire businessman and conservative/libertarian activist David Koch.

“Not only is Enterprise Florida a cesspool of corporate welfare, but it’s also long on promises and short on results,” Chris Hudson, Florida state director of Americans for Prosperity, wrote in an opinion column last month in the Tampa Bay Times.

Hudson’s right on many points. Enterprise Florida has been a sloppy, self-indulgent organization that needs better accountability. Departed CEO Johnson’s tenure only fueled the ire against the organization. As a “public-private” partnership, Enterprise Florida’s funding base is supposed to be shared between private and public sources. That mix is skewed, relying heavily on taxpayer money — a big reason that Scott’s $250 million ask got nowhere with legislators.

Indeed.  Enterprise Florida has done questionable things.  But there is another point:

Ending incentives and going “free market” — Legislature leader Corcoran’s mantra — may sound righteous. But Floridians may not like it when the state starts losing job recruiting contests — especially the big ones — to states still sweetening relocation deals with taxpayer money.

That’s the trick. If Enterprise Florida goes cold turkey and ends taxpayer incentives, why will corporations looking to expand bother to seriously consider this state? Yes, there’s no state income tax here. Yes, our winters are nice.

Hate to break the free marketeer’s bubble. Those virtues won’t win many corporate job expansions here if North Carolina or Texas or any number of other states continue to wave incentive money. Just ask the site selection advisers whose job is to tell corporate clients which deal is best.

As long as incentives are fundamental to job recruiting in most other states, Florida’s purist obsession to end them here will simply make the Sunshine State look silly.

To put it another way: the market for relocations is different from what is normally thought of as “the market.”  When people usually speak of “market principles” (though on certain people tend to usually speak of “market principles”) they are talking about business without government intervention or activity (which pretty much never happens, but that is a different issue).  In relocations, corporations are the consumers.  States, cities, etc., are to a large degree the sellers.  Corporations are looking for certain features and amenities. As long as some sellers (states, cities, etc.) are giving incentives, part of “the market” for relocations will be incentives.  You may not like it, but that is how the market works.  If other factors outweigh incentives, so be it.  And if a location does not want the relocation enough to give incentives, so be it. But they should know that without the incentives, they are at a disadvantage. If a consumer wants A and you only offer B, they are going to buy from someone else. If those looking to move want something and you do not provide it, they will go elsewhere.

The same principle of supplying what the consumer, in this case companies or talent, wants goes for transportation (just ask the Lightning owner. See here and here), and, while this has been known for a really long time, this area better finally take productive notice (especially since other areas provide the low costs and taxes that we keep trying to sell). The County Commission can fiddle about with this and that idea, but until they get beyond simply funding repaving work (which they should have funded anyway) and actually develop a real plan for a coordinated, comprehensive transportation system that provides the options others do, they will inhibit our competitiveness in the market for relocations and retention.  They are just not providing enough quality in what they are selling. (And it’s not like they are devoted to the market anyway.  The mess with it by, among other things, subsidizing sprawl, subsidizing retail developments, and, of course, the PTC).

As with all markets, the relocation market has supply and demand. If you are not selling what people want, they won’t buy it (unless, like many people already living here, that is what they are stuck buying.)  Moreover, a proper transportation system, a opposed to the County subsidizing sprawl, is not an incentive, it is an investment that helps meet the needs for the people who live here and people who will live here. (Paying for roads for specific developers or projects or defraying the cost of fees that should be paid because of such projects is an incentive.  Building general infrastructure is not.) A proper transportation system maximizes efforts to grow and retain jobs, to increase the tax base, to develop the area and amenities for people who are already here.  Spending on infrastructure enhances life and helps grow the economy and attract and retain jobs and talent to lift the economy.  And a proper transportation system is necessary for the proper functioning of the all sectors of the economy that is here and that we want to see.  The return on investment is not just monetary but in quality of life.

We’ll ask it again: If someone can go anywhere, and with other places that already provide amenities that they want, why should they come here? Hint: the answer isn’t “because we found money to maintain our existing roads.”

What those who provide half-ideas, half-measures, and gimmicks and nothing more are simply saying, in deeds that contradict their words, they do not really care about economic development.

— One More Thing

Finally, before someone tries to take what we just said as justification for all incentives, it isn’t.  First, as we said, a proper transportation system is not an incentive. Second, we do not even support business incentives unless they are limited, really targeted at higher paying jobs and/or truly desirable industries, and have safeguards to protect the public from non-performance.  (We support flight incentives provided they are also properly targeted.)  But if, while others keep putting out an updated product, you do nothing to improve your product to meet the consumers’ desires and think everything will be fine, you do not understand how a market works.

Meanwhile, in the Rest of the Country

— Related Art

This week, we go to New York City, where the Related Group is building a very large project called Hudson Yards over, as you may guess, a large rail yard.   As part of this mega-project (which is pretty much waterfront, something to remember when you hear any hyperbole about waterfront projects), is a large interactive work or art (sort of) called the Vessel.

From the New York Times - click on picture for article

From the New York Times – click on picture for article

Big, bold and basket-shaped, the structure, “Vessel,” stands 15 stories, weighs 600 tons and is filled with 2,500 climbable steps. Long under wraps, it is the creation of Thomas Heatherwick, 46, an acclaimed and controversial British designer, and will rise in the mammoth Far West Side development Hudson Yards, anchoring a five-acre plaza and garden that will not open until 2018. Some may see a jungle gym, others a honeycomb.

But Stephen M. Ross, the billionaire founder and chairman of Related Companies, which is developing Hudson Yards with Oxford Properties Group, has his own nickname for “Vessel”: “the social climber.” And the steep price tag Mr. Ross’s privately held company is paying for Mr. Heatherwick’s installation? More than $150 million.

Yes, you read that right $150 million for the thingy, which is a cool thingy, but a thingy nonetheless.  To put that into perspective, as far as we can tell, there has only been one building sold in downtown Tampa for more than that, ever (Though another may have been close).  It is also more than any of the three projects Related has built in Tampa cost to build.

Still, that is public art.

— You Can Make It Walkable

For those who know Atlanta, you know Dunwoody is not exactly in the urban core (more akin to the I-75 corridor), though it does have a MARTA station.  Well,

A developer for the High Street mixed-use development in Dunwoody said the project hopes to break ground in early 2017 and finished in three years.

Boston-based GID Development Group’s Vice President of Development Jeff Lowenberg gave a presentation of the plans for the project at the Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s Sept. 11 meeting.

The development on some 36 acres in Dunwoody at the intersection of Hammond Drive and Perimeter Parkway is designed to be an “urban area” with easy access to the Dunwoody MARTA station, Lowenberg said.

* * *

Phase one of the project includes construction of one 30-story residential tower, a 12-story office building, two seven-story residential buildings, two eight-story residential buildings, a 12-story residential building and several three-story townhouses. All residential buildings will have ground-floor retail.

* * *

A 3/4-acre park is part of the first phase. The park will include a central lawn area with four corners to be used for a dog park, a children’s park, an open-air reading room and an adult game area for ping-pong and bocce ball.

Total residential units in phase one will include 500 apartments at more than 552,000 square feet and 75 condominiums at more than 237,000 square feet. Retail space totals 130,000 square feet and office space totals 250,000 square feet.

This is a rendering of phase one:

From Reporter Newspapers - click on picture for website

From Reporter Newspapers – click on picture for website

We don’t know if it will actually get built, but it shows what other areas are thinking.  And the MARTA station was not put there for this project, but it certainly is helping bring development like this to Atlanta.  Kind of like this State Farm project which is right next to a MARTA station. (see also here)  Even the skeptics around Atlanta now seem to want to have some transit.

It is all a matter of choices made.

List of the Week – Hooray, Beer

Our list this week is wallethub’s best Octoberfest celebration.  The methodology is here.

Coming in first was Cincinnati, followed by Pittsburgh, Portland (OR), Minneapolis, Orlando, Denver, Tampa, Miami, Madison, Boise, Scottsdale, St. Louis, Columbus, St. Paul, Buffalo, Colorado Springs, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New Orleans.

For those who did not know that Oktoberfest was really a thing in Florida, apparently it is – or at least as much as it is anywhere.  The methodology is kind of suspect, and the list quite irrelevant, but we did well, so have a stein-full.


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